The West Virginia Veterans' Legacy Project has collected a series of oral histories and memories in an art installation, a book and a theater performance, and also a documentary which will be shown today on WVPBS.
The project was created by volunteers at Glenville State College, and separate parts of the project are being shown throughout November across the campus. Events at the college began Nov. 3 with the official release of the documentary and will end today with an encore performance by the veterans' theater group.
"It's really exciting," Bob Henry Baber, director of the project, said. "The documentary- 'Tradition of Service: The West Virginia Veteran's Legacy Project' - people will love it."
A soldier walks away from the grave of Minor C. Smith Jr. The photo is part of a project created by the WV Veterans’ Legacy Project. A documentary will be shown on WVPBS at 9 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Sunday.
On Nov. 3, the first official showing of the documentary was paired with a dinner and military ball. In the days following, the photo exhibit opened at the Glenville State College Art Gallery, a book signing took place, and the Veterans Theater Production was performed.
The documentary will be shown again on WVPBS at 9 p.m. today and at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Funding was procured through $55,000 in private donations and a grant of $350,000 from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Baber said that, in preparing the documentary, more than 200 interviews were completed with veterans of wars stretching back to World War II.
"They literally put their lives in your hands," Henry said about the people he interviewed. "It's really humbling."
"We've wept and howled with veterans," he said.
One notable interview he mentioned was with Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams, who Baber said is the last living person from World War II to have been given the Medal of Honor.
Baber said Williams came home from the war expecting to return to the farm where he grew up.
To his disappointment, Baber said, the farm was lost because it was unable to be kept up by his relatives who remained in the U.S. during the war.
Baber said it was touching to hear the veterans' stories and be offered a part of their lives.
He also spoke about the book, "Heroes Among Us," created by the Legacy Project. Baber said it's a collection of stories, pictures and quotes from veterans that encompasses a history of wars involving the U.S., from the Civil War to the present day.
The art installation at the college is portable, Baber said, and will be moved to different parts of the state as it's requested. The only cost involved is the ability to transport it, he said.
Baber encouraged any interested people to watch the documentary and read a copy of the book, saying that adults and children would enjoy the educational and emotional aspects of the Legacy Project.
Newspapers across the state, including The Inter-Mountain, are taking part in the Legacy Project by partnering with Glenville State College to share veterans' stories in articles and advertisements.
Contact Casey Houser by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.